Kale has become so trendy that it’s been called “a four-letter word,” but that isn’t stopping PepsiCo’s Naked Juice brand from making the dark, leafy and nutritious vegetable the centerpiece of its latest US national advertising campaign that focuses on locally contextualized marketing in a handful of cities where the PepsiCo-owned brand sells best.
“Endorsed by Kale” is a trademarked tagline and a multichannel campaign whose centerpiece is creative out-of-home billboards in neighborhoods in eight cities featuring targeted copy promoting Naked Juice’s Kale Blazer beverage.
The pitch: Superfood kale comes to life for the first time in digital, print and OOH as part of a larger effort by Naked Juice to connect with its consumer in non-traditional ways. The campaign includes some groan-worthy puns including “Welcome to Kale-landia” in Portland, Oregon; “Lakeview is Feeling the Kale Effect” in Chicago’s Wicker Park area; and “Start Spreading the Kale” in NoHo in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood.
If I were a state, I'd be KALEifornia #BetterWithKale
— Kale (@TweetsByKale) January 13, 2016
The localized advertising in seven key (and hipster strongholds) US markets aim to humanize, humorize and anthropomorphize the leafy green vegetable with a series of one-liners that are also being dished out by the @tweetsbykale as part of a social media engagement that’s also riffing (with its “endorsed by” meme) on the US election cycle as well as celebrity/athlete endorsements on social media—only in this case, the star is the Kale Blazer (a pun on trail blazer) drink.
— Kale (@TweetsByKale) February 15, 2016
The @TweetsByKale bio reflects its hipstery tone of voice: “I WAS just a bunch of Kale who enjoyed being green, the occasional massage and a good farmers market. THEN I found Kale Blazer. NOW I’m spreading the love!”
“Our approach since the beginning of the year has been to go to the top cities where our target consumer—whom we call the ‘Dynamic Doer’—lives, and be part of their community and support their community,” Andrea Theodore, the head of marketing for PepsiCo’s Naked Emerging Brands group, told brandchannel.
As the P&G alum told Mediapost, the campaign is designed to maintain “our equity and brand essence as a juice and smoothie maker that feels local and homegrown” — even though it’s grown to become a national brand. The new campaign, she added, “is a hyper-local advertising campaign that leverages insights about the lifestyle, behaviors and beliefs of the audience to reinforce the brand’s commitment to community.”
brandchannel chatted with her for more insights into the campaign, which runs through the end of March.
bc: Why did you decide to run a heavily localized—while national—campaign to promote Naked’s kale beverage drinks?
Theodore: For the three-and-a-half years I’ve been in this business (at PepsiCo), we’ve taken what we call the Naked in Your Neighborhood approach. The brand was founded in 1983 on the beaches of Santa Monica, and since then we’ve always been a part of the community despite becoming a big, beloved national brand.
Each year we talk about new products and new benefits. We’ve done eight to 15 top cities each year depending on the idea, its relevance and where we want to have an impact. We’ve focused on surrounding consumers with out-of-home messaging.
We have Naked trucks as ambassadors for the brand where our Dynamic Doers are spending their time: at food-focused events, health-and-wellness activities like yoga, cycling, running events. The intent is to connect with that target Dynamic Doer where they are and where they’re spending their time in those cities.
bc: Why are you relying on outdoor billboards, for example, to reach your target audience?
Theodore: Most of the billboards are static, yes, but you’ll never see us on a freeway overpass. It’s not our intention to hit the most consumers in those cities. It’s really meant to be in a neighborhood and to reinforce support in those neighborhoods. It’s also done through giveback programs, such as donations of fresh fruits and vegetables through local farmers’ markets. Our goal is to make sure the Dynamic Doer has access to fresh fruits and veggies wherever they are in their busy lives.
bc: Has kale jumped the shark already? After all, even McDonald’s is offering kale on its menu these days.
Theodore: The super ingredients that consumers embrace, like acai and pomegranate, have been around a long time but have a longstanding tradition because they bring the nutrients that consumers want.
Our kale product has been out since 2014, and it’s become a top 10 item for us. Our Dynamic Doers want more and more veggies in their juice drinks. They are lower in calories than fruit, so it’s great when they’re drinking them for an energizing pick-me-up or to help supplement drink-to-eat occasions where they’re looking for a smoothie.
bc: Whole Foods Markets has been suffering because more consumers are finding its products too pricey. Naked Juice is a premium-priced product that is popular in its stores as well as at many other retailers. How are your customers reflected in this trend?
Theodore: There are always price pressures with some consumers, but the thing about the Dynamic Doer is that they live active lifestyles, and they believe that foods and beverages are part of what is going to help them live long and vibrantly. Because of that, they’re willing to spend more. There’s value in [the Naked Juice brand proposition]. It’s worth its weight in gold and resonates with these consumers because we have the same values they have.
bc: And what do you oversee in the Naked Emerging Brands portfolio for PepsiCo?
Theodore: The scope is Naked Juice, IZZE Sparkling Juice and O.N.E. Coconut Water, which are our forward-thinking, emerging health-and-wellness brands. They’re part of a broader organization within PepsiCo that’s called the Nutrition Business.
Our mission is to look for trend-forward health-and-wellness opportunities that we can put on our existing brands or look for other opportunities to bring into the company through venturing. One was our most recent addition, in 2013.